Online Behaviours

Urgent need to shield kids from online pornographic harm

Jun 12, 2022

The harmful effects of pornography on young people

The children’s commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, recently released a report warning of the dangers of online pornography on children and the need for the Online Safety Bill to be passed as an “urgent priority.” With one in 10 children viewing porn by the age of nine and harmful effects on their understanding of sex and relationships, the report calls for action to protect children from the harms of online pornography

According to a report by the children’s commissioner for England, one in 10 children have viewed pornography by the age of nine. The report highlights the widespread consumption of porn among children and the negative impact it has on their understanding of sex and relationships.

The report also found that depictions of sexual coercion and aggression are commonplace in online pornography, with 47% of young people aged between 16 and 21 believing that girls “expect” physical aggression in sex. This normalization of sexual violence in online porn is a cause for concern, with the report calling for the urgent passage of the Online Safety Bill to regulate porn sites and ensure robust age verification.

The report highlights several harmful effects of online porn on young people, including:

  • 79% of young adults aged 18 to 21 had seen pornography involving sexual violence by the age of 18.

  • Many young people believe that girls expect or enjoy sex involving physical aggression.

  • 47% of respondents aged between 18 and 21 has experienced a violent sex act.

  • Over a third of young adults had sought out violent pornography involving at least one act of sexual violence.

Top platforms with child exposure to pornography

The report suggests that Twitter is the platform where the highest percentage of children have seen pornography (41%), followed by dedicated porn sites (37%) and then Instagram (33%). These findings highlight the need for online safety measures to protect children from the harms of online porn.

“Normalization of sexual violence in online pornography”

Dame Rachel de Souza is “deeply concerned about the normalization of sexual violence in online pornography” and how it impacts children’s understanding of sex and relationships. She calls on all adults in responsible positions, including politicians and parents, to take the report’s findings seriously and support the passage of the Online Safety Bill.

Richard Collard, NSPCC associate head of child safety online policy, calls for “strong measures” in the Online Safety Bill and for Ofcom to be given powers to set minimum standards for robust age assurance measures on platforms where pornographic material can be viewed. With one in 10 children exposed to porn by the age of nine, it’s clear that action is needed to protect children from the harms of online pornography.

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© 2023 Copyright INSINTO LTD. All Rights Reserved.